Newmarket: Jockey Club reports 11% increase in annual profits

The Rowley Mile racecourse at Newmarket. The Rowley Mile racecourse at Newmarket.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
10:27 AM

The Jockey Club, which runs 15 leading UK racecourses including Newmarket, Epsom, Aintree and Cheltenham, today reported an 11% increase on annual operating profit to £22million.

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The figure, which represents growth of 28% over the past five years, was achieved on turnover of £166.9m, also representing an 11% increase compared with 2012 and five-year growth of 31%.

Admissions, hospitality and retail catering at racing festivals, media income, music nights and non-racing events were all cited by the group as key revenue drivers.

Total prize money at Jockey Club racecourses totalled a record £41.6m, of which the organisation contributed £18.24m, an increase of 47% over the last five years.

The group’s racecourses division, in its first full year under a new regional management structure, saw turnover increase from £142.1m to £158.7m and operating profits climb from £18.8m to £21.0m.

The 15 courses achieved a combined attendance of 1.74m visitors, including more than 235,000 at the Cheltenham Festival, more than 150,000 at the Grand National meeting at Aintree and more than 150,000 at the Derby meeting.

This was despite long periods of bad weather which affected both advanced sales and walk-up crowds, and forced the abandonment of some fixtures, including Cheltenham’s 2013 New Year’s Day raceday which a year earlier attracted 32,000.

The group’s property and land management arm, whose assets include more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds at Newmarket and Lambourn, grew its turnover by 5.3% year-on-year and its operating profits trebled, from £200,000 to £600,000.

This was largely as a result of welcoming more horses to its training grounds, despite the number of horses in training remaining flat year-on-year and prolonged periods of bad weather.

The National Stud, also based at Newmarket, was profitable for a sixth consecutive year, following its acquisition by the Jockey Club in 2008. Turnover rose to £2.3m, from £2.0m in 2012, although operating profits fell to £300,000, from £700,000 the previous year, reflecting a “testing” operating environment.

Simon Bazalgette, group chief eecutive, said: “2013 was a year where The Jockey Club grew our business for the fifth consecutive year and strengthened our balance sheet, allowing us to invest a record amount back into British racing while being in the privileged position of offering millions of visitors, viewers and listeners great experiences in the process.

“Every penny of profit we make we put back into our sport to support its long-term health and prosperity. Racing is a sport that generates more than £3.45bn to the UK economy each year and supports thousands of jobs.”

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